Silo Filling -from the farm manager’s perspective

Hi, I’m Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, and I’m sorry to be a bore, but I had such an incredible week, I’ve just got to tell someone.. First of all, you’ve got to understand, I’m not just your regular dog.. Paradise Mountain seriously couldn’t operate without me.. Foremost, I take my roll as best friend very seriously.. I’m also head of ranch security, chief detective, main cattle herder, farm manager, occasional game warden,.. This list could continue, but it’d sound like I’m bragging.. None the less, all this pressure almost got to me, so they got Rolo, a chocolate lab, to work as my assistant. At least she tries.. Sweet kid..


So back to my week, early Monday morning, the harvest crew rolled in preparing to chop corn. The crew this year consisted of the Bossman, his daughters- Kendra and Emily, the Boyfriend, and another guy. Julia and Mother were on chore duty and more importantly food committee. Deb had to work so she wasn’t around as much..

As manager, I felt it was my responsibility to ride along occasionally. Kendra and the Bossman kept switching off from pulling a cart to running the chopper-guess they were trying to get in on the best of both worlds. So I rode with both of  them. They love company in the chopper, but I can see a lot more from the tractor, and I like the wind in my face so I stuck with that.

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When I rode with Kendra, she was all amazed by the flowers in the creek bed beside the field.. Such color! Bright yellow Golden rod, orange touch-me-nots, purple iron weed, blue bachelor’s buttons.. The smell of the honey suckle vine.. The warm sunshine and bright blue sky.. I was more concerned about the piece of ag bag plastic along the edge of the field.. Mighty suspicious to my seasoned eye..

The Bossman split his time between talking on the phone, complaining over the pitiful phone service after he’d dropped yet another call, and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m not sure about this cell phone on the job business, but he is my Superior, so I kept my thoughts to myself.

And Emily.. It was so good to have her in the field again after her shoulder deal.. But I had to think about a re-injury and worker’s comp.. Ah the stress of management.. I tell you, Rolo, next time you are complaining about me getting to ride and you staying at the house.. It’s not all sunshine and  roses. That I assure you!

But let’s see. where was I? Oh so I rode with the tractor and cart out to the field, and that’s were the fun began. There is one of the most beautiful sights to behold, an amazing John Deere Forage Harvester.. It is unbelievable. I close my eyes and I can hear my sweet mom’s voice reminding me of the last rule she taught me before I left home.. “Now, son, if someone is enjoying a meal, and that someone is bigger than you, never ever interfere.” That rule has saved me a lot of hide over the years, and most certainly it applies here. I stand in awe.. One paw raised in salute.. “Bon appetite, monsieur”.. She is something to behold inhaling 8 rows of corn at a time. The knifey teeth things chattering as they slice off the cornstalks at lightning speed.. The machine growling as it processes the product. The gossip at the fencerow is that there is more than one color of these machines, but I don’t believe it. Those coyotes will tell you anything to see if you believe it..

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One things for sure, I sure am glad that beast feeds off of corn instead of dog food.. If it were different, I’d have to take down my shingle.. We fill the cart in no time flat and head back to the barn. Now this part of the process, I don’t get. We roll in and line up beside the blower tractor like we are ready for a race. And that tractor fires up and runs full throttle.. And doesn’t  budge an inch. I watched really close. Worthless. But the cart does get emptied somehow.. Strange.

We were having some trouble with speeding with these guys. I was at my wits end to know what to do. So finally I sent Julia up the silo and Rolo to construct a “This area is under surveillance of overhead radar” sign. But ol Jul beat us to the draw. She musta agreed with me, cause next thing I knew, she was on the phone saying “That’s it, only 2 more loads”. Nobody speeds when I’m on patrol..

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By the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I relax for a few minutes in the back yard.. I observe Kendra as she heads for the house.. She stops at listens to an owl on the mountain, or a whippoorwill.. Looks at the stars, and thanks our Heavenly Father for the blessings in her life.. And I feel thankful too.. That I chose to be a farm manager, and not a highway patrol in some city somewhere.. I’ll gladly leave the headaches of trains, and airplanes, and taxi drivers, to some distant cousin somewhere..

Now, If you’ll excuse me, I gotta catch a siesta.. Rolo and I are on midnight patrol.. We must try some stage 3 alarm barking to warn the entire farm about that ag bag plastic.. And I have a thing or two to explain to those coyotes about quality equipment..

Special thanks to:

Inspiration from Hank the Cow dog books from my childhood

Detroit for being the best manager ever

And to you, dear reader, for persevering to the end of this silly tale 🙂

..To do good unto those..

I can not imagine being blessed with a special needs child. I think about it sometimes. I have a very active imagination, but still, I know I fall short understanding the challenges and the joys this would bring..

I’ve also been thinking a lot about outreach recently, and wondering why it seems like largely the encouraging things I do, end up being for someone in the Faith community.. Is that outreach?

Then my neat “Bible Verse a Day”app came up with Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers..”

The last two Saturdays I’ve had a chance to watch this play out literally.. Last Saturday, I was in Blair County, PA, at the Dr. Morton Benefit Auction.. This Saturday, at the Auction in Lancaster.. Dr. Morton has given his life to helping special needs children who’s families don’t have health insurance.. Mainly Anabaptist people.. The Benefit Auctions pay for about a third of the expenses for this clinic. People from all over donate piles of things. The creativity of the donations is incredible.. Apple Butter, pillow cases, ponies, hay, toy tractors, quilts, dishes, shrubs. furniture, tools… And they come ready to buy.. Baked goods- pies, ice cream, cookies..

The Blair Sale was fun.. Spending time with friends.. Lunch was a pretzel made by a friend from Indiana County that I hadn’t seen in 3 years.. It was delicious 🙂image image image

Lancaster was awesome.. Good ol Lancaster County, always way bigger and better than everyone else.. I had a blast. For starters, Mother went along with me for the first time, and that was cool.. There were 1000s of people and for those of us who love to do “people studies” it was the perfect place.. 🙂 There were lots of familiar people- it was fun catching up.. There was so much organization- each person doing their job, and everything went seemingly so smoothly.. It just made me smile- watching the whoopie pie factory- last year they sold 5,400 of all different flavors, and were hoping for more this round; observing the Amish man shoveling lard at the French Fry stand with a garden shovel; listening to Dr. Morton’s speech and thinking what he represents to these hurting people looking for hope, help, and answers; trying to get around to as many different food booths as possible- my dad should’ve been helping with that :); and then to top it off- watching Mother and Aunt Sharon bid on things..:) What a wonderfully incredible day.. Even if it lasted from 2:30 – 11:30 and my van got stuck in the new driveway of my last passenger thanks to the lovely rain we received.. 🙂

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I can only imagine what a day like this would feel like to the families who receive help from the clinic.. Such encouraging support.. With communities rallying around them.. For a little while, Everyone puts aside whatever differences they have, and works together for a wonderful cause.. It blesses me. The Christian Community is such a amazing thing.. And I can imagine how our Heavenly Father smiles on such activities..  May God make us each a blessing, Kendra

Bonus pics:


We were chopping up on a hill recently.. The Valley is so beautiful!!! I just wanted to stop mesmerized..  But the fear of the  frantic ringing of my cell phone with the chopper operator wondering “where on earth the next cart was”, and “why I wasn’t keeping up with the other guys”.. jerked me back to reality..:)


Sometimes I look at life and just have to laugh… Emily purchased a piece of property, and this is the car that came with it.. Yeah..

I am completely thrilled as I watch the hand of God move for me.. Praise Him!!! The latest way is also a piece of property.. And yes, this land has a car on it too..


So Em, wanna race? 🙂

Saith the Sandwich

This time of year I eat a lot of sandwiches.. A lot.. Like for at least two meals a day.. I enjoy them. Bless those busy women who make up the food committee.. Food is always a welcome sight when you’re working.. I also have a lot of time to think these days.. Almost too much..

Last week one of the guys pulled out to the field with the typical “Hey Kendra, I’ve got lunch here”..  We were chopping for two different farmers that day, and as I bit into that amazing pork sandwich, I knew which wife was graciously feeding the harvest crew.. We laugh that you could put us in a dark room and feed us sandwiches from different farmers and we could identify them, no problem.. Each creator has their own flare..Which got my brain going..

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A sandwich.. Two pieces of bread.. Some cheese.. A bit of meat.. Yet it can be so much more.. 🙂 I guess Subway has already capitalized on the originality of the sandwich..

But I think- each cook brings some of their own personality into a sandwich.. Lots of meat- generosity.. Lettuce- a sensible side.. Wheat bread- health conscience.. A splash of BBQ sauce or honey mustard- a little pizazz going on there..

And continuing down my rabbit trail of thought, I wonder how my life reflects my Creator.. I hope I’m full of joy, love, patience and all those other Fruit of the Spirit.. All “sandwiched” into one lil me.. Hmm.. Still a major work in progress..



Bonus pics:


Ok, so I’m rather monotonous right now with the harvest idea.. But it kinda consumes me these days.. I thought this pic could be named “Generation Gap”.. The farmer’s 6 year old daughter was riding with me, and she said ” Your tractor goes fast, but not NEAR as fast as our 4020!!!” Farm kids 🙂


Father made a new friend at Harry Lee’s.. He discovered his tame rooster is not the only one in the world, and went so far as to say ” Well, maybe I could get rid of Sqwack and get a rooster that’s nice..” Which may be the most beautiful words I’ve heard in awhile..


There’s nothing like a country sunrise..

Summer, My love

Last week I followed a school bus picking up children fir the first day of school..As I watched the kids all excited with their brand new backpacks, and the parents proudly taking pictures as the children waved from the bus steps, that familiar lump came to the back of my throat.. We are officially in the final stretch of summer..

I like the change of seasons, but none evoke the feelings of sorrow that come with the ending of summer.. Truly I could write a funeral dirge as I watch the first V of geese heading southward.. Sweet summertime..

As I waited behind the bus- I waxed thoughtful.. Where did this summer go? It was a good summer.. Made some memories I will remember for forever.. Like tubing the river with my sisters the day before Em’s shoulder surgery.. Enjoying Jul’s Jeep with the wind whipping thru my hair.. Meeting friends for ice cream.. A flying trip to GA.. The best barbecued chicken I ever tasted.. Good times..

And yet I have some regrets.. Like why didn’t I make it to the mountains more often.. Our bikes are patiently waiting for another trip to Bridgewater.. It seems a crying shame that I went canoeing more in February than I did in both July and August-because I went once in Feb.. Where did all those leisure evenings where I was going to sit beside the campfire go?

When I was in Guatemala, I lived with Valerie.. She had a wealth of poetry. One day she pulled up a poem, and when she read it to me, I got goosebumps. There we were in the land of eternal summertime, lamenting the farewell of our friend..

Mother cries when she reads this, because she thinks of it in terms of her life.. For all of us- each summer is a gift.. With no guarantees of more to follow..

So if you are like me and have a love affair with blue sky and sunshine.. This is for us..


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Summer Love -Author Unknown

Summer, my love. What’s this I hear about your leaving? It’s awfully early, isn’t it? You just got here.

We don’t have to kid each other, Summer. I knew when you came to town that you wouldn’t stay. You never have. And even though you haven’t yet said it to my face, I’ve heard the talk and seen the signs that tell me you’ve got your bags half-packed.

Just last week I saw the ferns turning brown and brittle. I saw the flower heads turned crisp and crackly. And I saw the fawns, their white spots nearly gone. I saw the wild berries; they were about reading for picking. I saw the squirrels and chipmunks too. They’ve got food on their minds, winter food. That tells me something that you haven’t.

Come on, love. Don’t try to con me. You kiss me with 90-degree heat during the day, and in the evening caress me with the 70s. But just before dawn, I awake and feel the restlessness in you, and the chill sets in.

You set this town on fire almost as soon as you arrived. You put the sidewalks to sizzling and the blacktop to bubbling. You had’em gasping, Summer, and that’s what it’s all about.

And you and me? We fried and we broiled, but sometimes we found the shade where the little creeks run, and we swatted flies and drank the last drop from every cool breeze.

I can’t tell you what to do, Summer. You’ve always gone your own way. But please, oh please, don’t go yet. Take me by the hand and walk with me some more. Tell me again how it was in the olden days and how it will be tomorrow in those places where I can’t see or know.

When nighttime comes, let’s hold each other close, just one more time. Let’s count the stars in your clear summer sky, and let’s listen to the music of eternity as it is played in the throats of frogs, loons, the leaves of trees and the instrumental strings of those who dream the sweetest dreams.

And if you must go, sweet Summer, and I know you must, then let me down easy. We will not be together as many times in the future as we have in the past. There have been more yesterdays than there will be tomorrows.

So stay with me……as long as you can.

Bonus pics:


Chopping season started this week


A Fresh Air Girl that we hadn’t heard from in 15 years showed up for a visit


To those of you who heard my very adamantly stated “opinionation” ( is that a word?) I know I said I would never.. But Deborah gave me a ride on our hiredman’s moped.. And I didn’t die.. She’s a good driver 🙂 So I guess I’m eating all my “DUI motorcycle” jokes..